Treating Menopause Symptoms: Myths vs. Facts

  • Friends spending leisure time outdoors
    What Actually Works for Menopausal Women
    A woman’s body undergoes many changes during menopause. Common symptoms include hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, sleep disruptions and weight gain. Your menstrual periods stop and your hormone levels decrease, which can lead to a drop in your energy level and problems with memory. Some women may also feel depressed as they reach this milestone in age and reproductive life. As you look for ways to treat your menopause symptoms, you may run into conflicting information, so let’s separate some myths from the facts.

  • Soy Milk
    Myth or Fact: Eating more soy can help with bone loss, hot flashes and night sweats.
    Myth. Soy protein found in tofu, edamame, soy milk, miso, soy sauce and other foods is a cornerstone of Asian diets. It has been touted as a dietary answer to many effects of menopause, since Asian women historically have lower rates of bone loss and osteoporosis than their counterparts in the West. However, clinical trials of soy in menopausal women have had mixed results. The subject is still being studied, but it’s unlikely adding these foods to your diet will help alleviate your symptoms or remedy bone loss.

  • Nurse taking woman's blood pressure
    Myth or Fact: Menopause may adversely affect a woman’s heart health.
    Fact. After menopause, women are more likely to develop cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Doctors aren’t sure what causes this, but changes in estrogen levels are thought to play a role. In order to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, be sure to maintain a healthy weight; include plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, low-fat dairy products, fish, lean meats, and poultry in your diet; exercise regularly; and avoid tobacco use.

  • Transparent Yellow Capsules
    Myth or Fact: There’s nothing you can do to prevent bone loss during menopause.
    Myth. It’s true that lower estrogen around the time of menopause naturally leads to bone loss in women, but there are things you can do to counteract this, like getting enough calcium and vitamin D, exercising regularly, and, in some cases, taking bone-strengthening drugs such as bisphosphonates. 

  • woman-meditation
    Myth or Fact: Hypnosis, yoga, meditation and tai chi can help improve mood during menopause.
    Fact. Researchers have investigated mind and body therapies for menopausal symptoms and found that tai chi and meditation-based programs may be helpful in reducing common menopausal symptoms, including the frequency and intensity of hot flashes, sleep and mood disturbances, stress, and muscle and joint pain. There is also some evidence acupuncture and hypnotherapy may help women manage hot flashes.

  • Women examining supplement bottles in store
    Myth or Fact: Natural products can offer relief from many menopause symptoms.
    Myth. Many natural products such as black cohosh, red clover, kava, and dong quai have been studied for their effectiveness at remedying menopause symptoms. However, none has clearly been shown to be helpful. There is little information on the long-term safety of natural products, and some can have harmful side effects or interact negatively with other drugs. In fact, black cohash and kava in particular have been found to cause health problems rather than cure them.

  • Patient talking with his doctor
    Myth or Fact: Your doctor doesn’t need to know about natural supplements you take.
    Myth. In order for your doctors to give you the best possible care, it’s important for them to have a complete picture of what you do and what pills you take to manage your health. Remember, even if a supplement is “all natural” or “organic,” it does not mean it can’t have side effects or harmful interactions with other prescriptions. By talking with your doctor about all your traditional and complementary health practices, you can work together to find the best way to cope with all of your menopause symptoms.

Treating Menopause Symptoms: Myths vs. Facts

About The Author

  1. How to Prevent Heart Disease. American Heart Association.
  2. Staying Healthy After Menopause. Johns Hopkins Medicine.
  3. Menopause and Menopause Treatments Fact Sheet.
  4. 4 Things to Know About Menopausal Symptoms and Complementary Health Practices. National Institutes of Health. NIH
  5. Soy No Help for Bone Loss, Hot Flashes. CNN.
  6. Soy Isoflavones in the Prevention of Meonpausal Bone Loss and Menopausal Symptoms. JAMA Internal Medicine.
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Sep 2
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.